Marilyn Reese Sheppard was brutally murdered in her bedroom on July 4, 1954. The cause of death was twenty-seven blows to her head by a heavy blunt instrument. She was thirty-one years old and four months' pregnant. Her husband, Dr. Sam Sheppard, claimed that a bushy-haired intruder killed his wife, but with few exceptions the law enforcement community of Ohio believed then and continues to believe even now that Sam Sheppard was the murderer.
This book sets out the facts in this famous murder case, one that has obsessed the public for half a century. Although the murder occurred in the mid—twentieth century, it was still being litigated as the twenty-first began, and the legal verdict of guilty or not guilty seesawed back and forth through three trials.
With all the elements of a tragic drama—a handsome young doctor, a beautiful pregnant woman beaten to death with her young son sleeping in the next room, a mysterious intruder, marital infidelity, an idyllic setting in small-town suburban America—this horrific crime and the subsequent trials have become part of American social history. From the beginning the Sheppard case has held the rapt attention of the media. It has been the subject of seven books and countless documentaries and is erroneously, but nevertheless strongly associated with, the long-running television series The Fugitive, popular made-for-TV movies, and even a major motion picture. It is our contention, however, that all of these have heightened the drama while misrepresenting the facts. All have been presented from the perspective of the accused. For the first time, here in this book, the State's side is told.
The prosecutor in the third trial, in 2000, a civil suit brought by the Sheppard Estate for wrongful imprisonment by the State of Ohio, was William Mason, who initiated a complete review of the case before making a decision about how or whether to proceed. In his determination to reach the right conclusion, Mason and his team undertook an extensive